Girlfriends in God - October 17, 2011


October 17, 2011
What’s the Plan?
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I set you apart! (Jeremiah 1:5, NIV).

Friend to Friend
I want to be successful – don’t you? And the awesome news is that God wants us to be successful as well. When we know and seek God's perfect plan for our lives, we will find success. Our immeasurable value rests solely in the fact that God created us, that His stubborn love sets us apart and the amazing fact that He designed and empowers a unique plan for each one of us. Yes, I know that plans are rampant in your life. God loves you and everyone else has a plan for your life, right? But the only plan that matters is the plan made for you by the One who formed you - the One who loves you, knows you and has set you apart to be His own. And it is a great plan!

1.Your life plan is customized. Psalm 139:16 You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!

You were born in response to the determined plan of God, not as an afterthought. Before you took even one breath, every day, every step and every circumstance in your plan was recorded. God's plan uses your strengths as well as your weaknesses. We all have strengths - they are part of the plan. We all have limitations - they are also part of the plan. We all have seasons of life that are essential to the plan as well. True success comes when, instead of constantly fighting against or trying to change the plan, we learn to identify and build on our strengths, accept the limitations as hedges of protection from God, and yield to the seasons in life as God's avenue of perfect timing. God's plan for you is not a "one-size-fits all." It is customized and just your size.

2. Your life plan is good. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,” plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

For some reason we tend to think that God sat down one day and designed a sinister life plan laced with pain and defeat. Nothing could be farther from the truth. This train of thought contradicts the very nature of God and misunderstands His heart - the heart of a loving Father who wants the absolute highest and best plan for His child. It is a good plan!

3. Your life plan is guaranteed. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

God always empowers what He calls us to do. With the plan comes every resource that we will need to accomplish that plan. For many years, my life mission was really quite simple. I tried and often succeeded in filling every waking moment with activity. Oh, it was wonderful activity filled with good things - but they were not the best things or the highest things for my life. I did many of those things in order to feel worthy and important, hoping they would bring my life into balance and under control. I hoped that doing good things would provide a purpose and plan for the restlessness in my soul. While sitting at the bottom of a deep, dark pit named "Clinical Depression," I discovered a truth that has redefined who I am and altered my soul perception of God. I now realize that the most powerful life flows from a clear life plan not to it! 

How do we discover our life plan? 

At first glance, that question may seem complicated and almost impossible to answer, but when we spend time with the Plan Maker, that question is easily answered as we step out in obedience to God. When we begin to saturate daily life with His truth and continually turn our hearts to conversation with God, His plan naturally unfolds as we take every "next step" in obedience. Consider the following questions when praying about and asking God to reveal His plan for your life:

·         What are your spiritual gifts?
·         What are you passionate about?
·         What are your natural abilities?
·         What is your personality type?
·         What are the spiritual markers in your life?
·         What do others see in you?    

After a two-year battle with clinical depression, I realized that I had lived a great deal of my life based on the wrong plan. I began to ask these questions, looking for the gifts He has given me instead of the ones I thought I should have or wanted to have. I began to accept my limitations knowing that He had woven them into the seams of my journey for my good. I began yielding to the seasons of life, trusting Him to lead the way through this foreign land called life.

Guess what? I looked around one day to find myself smack-dab in the middle of His life plan for me. It was suddenly so simple and amazingly clear! I am learning to say "no" to those things that do not fit into that life mission. Certainly, I fail and have to begin again. And sometimes I am misunderstood because I have chosen to follow God's plan instead of someone else's. But I would rather be misunderstood than disobedient. I had to choose a new audience for this race of life and so must you. I had to make a decision about the One I wanted to please and so must you. Don’t waste another minute on anything but God’s very best plan for your life.

Let’s Pray
Father, I want to know and live out the plan You have for me. Sometimes my faith is weak but I really do want to please and honor You. Guide my steps, Lord. Give me Your strength to be obedient. Thank You for giving my life purpose and meaning. Today, I choose Your plan above all others and celebrate the joy I find in knowing You.
In Jesus’ name,

Now It’s Your Turn
Read and memorize Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Spend time alone with God in prayer and ask Him to help you answer the following questions:

·         What are my spiritual gifts?
·         What am I passionate about?
·         What are my natural abilities?
·         What is my personality type?
·         What are the spiritual markers in my life?
·         What do others see in me?    

More from the Girlfriends
Want to be successful in your work? Check out Mary’s four-week study, Take This Job and Love It, to discover six principles from the life of the Proverbs 31 woman that will help you be successful in your work, no matter where you work or what your job may be. Study guide included.

Come as You Are, Mary’s NEW Online Bible Study, has just begun. Enroll now and have access to all 2011 lessons. Need a friend? Connect with Mary on Facebookor through email

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Matthews, NC 28106

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Originally published Monday, 17 October 2011.